Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - June 11, 2012

From: Palmerton, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vine in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have several vine plants growing in my deck planters from last season. The leaves are 9 pointed, it looks more like 7, but there are 2 little points at the very bottom of the larger leaves. When the leaves are younger, they look identical to pot leaves. The seem to start at 5, then go to 7, then mature at the 9. At the end of the season they grow "flowers", which again look similar to pot. They are little white bundles, but look like they have small white "hairs". There is no real identifying odor. The vines grow pretty fast, and like to reach out and grab things then twist around it. I have tried to find this on the internet for over a year with no luck. Any ideas? Pics can be provided.

ANSWER:

You can find native vines that grow in Pennsylvania by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing "Pennsylvania" from the Select State or Province Slot and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  This search results in a list of 71 native vines growing in Pennsylvania.  You can scroll through them and read about them.   Most of them have accompanying photos.  For the ones without photos on the species page, you can scroll to the bottom of the particular species page to the section called Additional Resources and click on the Google link for the species to find photographs on the Internet.  When I scrolled through the list I found these species that looked vaguely like the description you gave:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Hiedra creeper).  Here are photos and more information from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness.

Since the plants are growing in your deck planters (did you plant them there?) I suspect that the vines are not vines native to North America.  Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America so we are not going to be much help identifying non-native plants.  It is possible that your vines are Cannabis sativa ssp. sativa, since this subspecies is described as being vinelike sometimes.  However, I could find nothing that describes them as twining around objects.  If neither of the two vines shown above are the vines in your planter, I suggest that you take photos of them and visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

More Vines Questions

Identify red-flowering vine in E. Texas
April 03, 2009 - Beside a well on an old homestead in Deep East Texas, there is a delicate vine. The leaves are heart shaped with points all the way around. The flower is a bright red trumpet shaped. I saw an angel ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with red flower
April 14, 2008 - I have a "vine" that flowers. When it "blooms", it begins with a reddish/yellowish/orange ball about the side of a dime. The ball bursts open and a small red bloom emerges. It looks like a carn...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating evasive Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet)
July 21, 2013 - I have Oriental Bittersweet growing pervasively in my shrub garden, strangling my shrubs and growing into my beautiful Victorian porch. I can't keep up with it! What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Is hummingbird vine poisonous to parrots?
June 26, 2011 - Is hummingbird vine poisonous to parrots? I am setting up vines and plants around the aviary and would like to use this vine if it's not poisonous.
view the full question and answer

Native, non-invasive vines for wall cover in California
June 14, 2007 - I live on the Central Coast in California. I have a stucco garage wall, which receives full sun, and faces West. I would like to plant a climbing vine to cover the wall, and was considering a clim...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.